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#1 Urban Explorer

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 04:20 AM

Have you ever had to refuse a task in your job based on your own morals or interpretation of food safety and how did you handle it?

 

Any refusals to release products from hold and what was the outcome?

 

Asking for a friend... 


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#2 Tony-C

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 06:58 AM

Hi there,

 

Several times, that main one that comes to mind was when I refused to approve a supplier which the organization in question was purchasing hundreds of tonnes of materials from. Eventually the material ending up tainting the finished product, causing major problems - Karma

 

Regards,

 

Tony


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#3 RMAV

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 01:05 PM

Many moons ago in a plant far away from where I am now.  I was a QA tech when the metal detector eject failed to remove "affected" product from the line while conducting a metal detector test.  I checked again and verified the situation, stopped the line and informed maintenance who had it fixed in 40 seconds.  I put everything since the last good check on hold and got a call from the highest person at the facility telling me to release it.  I said I could not and why and was told again to release it.  I said I could not.  Audibly frustrated the person said, I'll sign the release.  I was young...it was intimidating.  Thankfully the person did not hold it against me. 

 

The product was released when it should have been re-run through the metal detector


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#4 RMAV

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 01:09 PM

Hi there,

 

Several times, that main one that comes to mind was when I refused to approve a supplier which the organization in question was purchasing hundreds of tonnes of materials from. Eventually the material ending up tainting the finished product, causing major problems - Karma

 

Regards,

 

Tony

Had a situation like that too and my boss got overruled.  Getting a "great price" often becomes "pay a great price."  Big recall.  Devastating.


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#5 Urban Explorer

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 03:02 PM

Thank you for your candor, guys.

 

I just have this gut feeling I'm going to be told to release something because it's big money, end of the year, etc.  If so, I am planning on refusing to sign off on it under my own name.  I'm not a big cheese, but I'm a supervisor and I don't want any part of it.  My boss is quite difficult and I know if that happens she's going to create a huge stink and report it to HER boss, but honestly, I will sleep better at night knowing I did the right thing.

 

I'm hoping it doesn't come down to that but you never know with these things.


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#6 Simon

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 03:09 PM

Did you seniors ever read the case about the Peanut Corporation of America


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#7 Urban Explorer

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 04:15 PM

Did you seniors ever read the case about the Peanut Corporation of America

 Oh yes, I know all about it.  I've used that in examples to upper management about why issues should not be pushed off simply because of economics.  And if they want to spend some time in jail for murder.

 

Not me, my friend. 


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#8 MWidra

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 05:13 PM

 Oh yes, I know all about it.  I've used that in examples to upper management about why issues should not be pushed off simply because of economics.  And if they want to spend some time in jail for murder.

 

Not me, my friend. 

The jail terms are not for murder, but for knowingly introducing adulterated food into commerce.  That's the top two execs.  The QC manager is in jail for the cover-up, obstruction of justice. 

 

I would not sign a false name, that would be the same as signing your own name.  Those who want it released will throw you under the bus without batting an eye.  If it is released, someone else needs to approve, and document that you did not approve and advised against the release.  CYA, in other words.

 

Martha


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"...everything can be taken from a man but one thing:  the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."  Viktor E. Frankl

 

"Life's like a movie, write your own ending."  The Muppets


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#9 QCALE

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 05:13 PM

The problem is not that you release it or not, are the consequences that have for agreeing to something that was not right. And  in food area,  you have in your hands the health of many people . Although it often high ranges not fully understood, but is part of the work to make them understand this ... :x_tongue: 


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#10 RMAV

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 05:17 PM

 Oh yes, I know all about it.  I've used that in examples to upper management about why issues should not be pushed off simply because of economics.  And if they want to spend some time in jail for murder.

 

Not me, my friend. 

Is it that bad?  In the case of my metal detector story, the risk of actually having metal in the product was very low.  If there had been metal in it the risk of actually injuring someone was extremely remote due to the nature of the product and the likely further processing/slicing/etc.  I was convinced that releasing it posed no real health hazard, but it was not appropriate for me to make that decision and put my name to it.  There were likely other factors involved of which I was unaware, but according to our plan, it should not have been released.


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#11 Urban Explorer

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 08:32 PM

Is it that bad?  In the case of my metal detector story, the risk of actually having metal in the product was very low.  If there had been metal in it the risk of actually injuring someone was extremely remote due to the nature of the product and the likely further processing/slicing/etc.  I was convinced that releasing it posed no real health hazard, but it was not appropriate for me to make that decision and put my name to it.  There were likely other factors involved of which I was unaware, but according to our plan, it should not have been released.

 

No it's not that bad, I've used that before in a previous job where bacteria was a concern. This is a different matter, I just don't agree with it based on my experience. The risk is low but it sets a precedent.

 

To clarify when I said "not under my own name" I didn't mean sign a false name, I meant a manager would have to sign off as I would refuse.  They don't know how to do so in the computer system, so I can see them pressuring one of my underlings to do it because I wouldn't.  


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#12 mgourley

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 10:30 PM

A lot of us have spent many hours writing policy to make sure that what we do is the right thing to do.

A lot of us have made sure that senior management is aware of said policy, and they always have input into the final product. We may go so far as to include approved exceptions.

Once they approve, or give tacit approval, that document states what we do in a certain situation. 

 

That policy, procedure, whatever, then governs how "all" people act when that particular situation arises.

After the fact is not the time for higher ups to decide that the policy does not need to be followed.

 

Make your objections known, CYA, and move on. You are exactly right. You do not want to set precedent. If you do, what's the point in this rule, or that policy?

 

Marshall


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#13 MWidra

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 01:05 AM

A lot of us have spent many hours writing policy to make sure that what we do is the right thing to do.

A lot of us have made sure that senior management is aware of said policy, and they always have input into the final product. We may go so far as to include approved exceptions.

Once they approve, or give tacit approval, that document states what we do in a certain situation. 

 

That policy, procedure, whatever, then governs how "all" people act when that particular situation arises.

After the fact is not the time for higher ups to decide that the policy does not need to be followed.

 

Make your objections known, CYA, and move on. You are exactly right. You do not want to set precedent. If you do, what's the point in this rule, or that policy?

 

Marshall

This is so absolutely perfectly stated.  It should be made into a poster and put up on all of our office walls.

 

If I could vote it up ten times, I would.

 

Martha


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"...everything can be taken from a man but one thing:  the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."  Viktor E. Frankl

 

"Life's like a movie, write your own ending."  The Muppets


#14 Snookie

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 01:35 AM

This is so absolutely perfectly stated.  It should be made into a poster and put up on all of our office walls.

 

If I could vote it up ten times, I would.

 

Martha

 

Agreed!!


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#15 Simon

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 08:41 AM

I agree with you Marshall with one caveat...I believe that senior managers should compose policy with the technical specialists and own it from the outset.  In reality this does not happen and that's the problem.  It is thus watered down to "they are aware of it"; it is not written in stone.


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#16 Simon

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 08:43 AM

Many moons ago in a plant far away from where I am now.  I was a QA tech when the metal detector eject failed to remove "affected" product from the line while conducting a metal detector test.  I checked again and verified the situation, stopped the line and informed maintenance who had it fixed in 40 seconds.  I put everything since the last good check on hold and got a call from the highest person at the facility telling me to release it.  I said I could not and why and was told again to release it.  I said I could not.  Audibly frustrated the person said, I'll sign the release.  I was young...it was intimidating.  Thankfully the person did not hold it against me. 

 

The product was released when it should have been re-run through the metal detector

 

I don't think this is an unreasonable action to take.

 

Is it that bad?  In the case of my metal detector story, the risk of actually having metal in the product was very low.  If there had been metal in it the risk of actually injuring someone was extremely remote due to the nature of the product and the likely further processing/slicing/etc.  I was convinced that releasing it posed no real health hazard, but it was not appropriate for me to make that decision and put my name to it.  There were likely other factors involved of which I was unaware, but according to our plan, it should not have been released.

 

Then why have a metal detector. :dunno:


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#17 RMAV

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 03:04 PM


"Then why have a metal detector :dunno: "

 

I agree, for sure.  But I'm also risk assessing when it comes to my livelihood.  Due to the risk level, it was not something to run to the regulatory agency about and forfeit my job.  But had it been L.mono contamination or some other clear and present danger to the health of the public, heck yeah, I'm willing to lose my livelihood over that.  This was before PCA so jail didn't even enter my mind.  It's a moral issue.

 

"The risk is low but it sets a precedent." -Urban Explorer

 

Absofreakinlutely.


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#18 MWidra

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 03:11 PM

"The risk is low but it sets a precedent." -Urban Explorer

 

Absofreakinlutely.

Well said.

 

Martha


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"Life's like a movie, write your own ending."  The Muppets


#19 Urban Explorer

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 09:04 PM

Thanks everyone, after many rounds of back and forth and my staunch disapproval to higher - ups, they have decided to discard all the product even though the risk is low. (I guess I outed myself as the friend :giggle: )


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#20 RMAV

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 04:05 AM

Sounds like you have wise higher-ups...congrats


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